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The Drive to Panama City


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One of the reasons that I chose Boquete for retirement was its relatively close proximity to Panama City.  I estimated that upon completion of the expansion of the PanAmerican highway that using first world metrics the drive time would be around four hours.  Does anyone have any idea on when the expansion of the entire route will be completed?  In addition, upon completion will they raise the speed limit beyond 100 kilometers per hour in rural areas?

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16 minutes ago, Danielle said:

Proximity? Are you kidding? Boquete is probably one of the expat retirement cities that are farthest from Panama City.

 

I used to reside in an area of Florida that I could simply jump on the interstate and set the cruise control and be in Fort Lauderale or Miami within four hours to enjoy big city amenities.  I was hoping that in the future I could do the same from Boquete.

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Marcelyn and I prefer to drive when we go to PC. We do NOT drive once we arrive in PC (traffic there drives me crazy), other than the final run to Riba Smith to stock up on supplies. It is cheaper to drive when compared to two people flying. I can drive (Toyota Fortuner, diesel) for about $30.00 of fuel each way. A bit more than half a tank of fuel for the drive.

The distance is just a bit short of 500 KM (call it 300 miles in English units). We plan on 7 hours total travel time, including a stop in Santiago. That duration can be shorter now that the improvements in the Interamerican Highway are progressing quite well. The worst part of the drive is the 50 KM just west of Santiago. Santiago is about (not exactly, but close enough for our purposes) halfway in the trip. It actually is a bit closer to Chiriqui than to PC.

We do not know when the improvements will be completed. We also are not concerned about the speed limits being increased. We are very comfortable with the current situation, and so anything better than now is simply gravy for us. I just put it on cruise control (at the posted limit), and Marcelyn and I have wonderful conversations.

Beside the stop in Santiago for lunch, we generally stop at the McDonalds at the Coronado exit for a pit stop, and maybe a drink or snack.

We do not think of PC as being in close proximity to Boquete, but that is a personal thing.

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3 hours ago, Siempre Soluciones said:

I used to reside in an area of Florida that I could simply jump on the interstate and set the cruise control and be in Fort Lauderale or Miami within four hours to enjoy big city amenities.  I was hoping that in the future I could do the same from Boquete.

Don't ever make a decision to live here based on what somebody tells you is going to happen in the future.  It might happen in somebody's future, but not likely ours.  We won't live that long.

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Panama City is relatively close, imo. I leave the house in Alto at 7:00 a.m. and arrive there in Albrook at 9:00 a.m. or very shortly thereafter for about $60.

The weather in the city looked good this morning so I drove back. From downtown P.C. to Rey in David ...six hours. No cruise control or tickets.

The highway expansion is far from finished.

Edited by Keith Woolford
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17 hours ago, Keith Woolford said:

... I leave the house in Alto at 7:00 a.m. and arrive there in Albrook at 9:00 a.m. or very shortly thereafter for about $60....

Keith, my experience with flying to PC was that it is much more expensive than what you stated. But then I gave up flying Air Panama some time back. In reading your posting about the ~$60 one-way airfare, that piqued my interest to check out Air Panama rates. You are correct about the cost of the fares, which now has added another option to my list of modes for travel to PC. May be adding Air Panama back on the okay list.

Thanks for this information.

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I didn't make a decision on what anybody told me.  My thoughts were that as Panama makes progress as a developing county that the PanAmerican highway would improve greatly.  I find it sad that I had read that a rum company in Chiriqui transports their rum via boat to Panama City through Pedregal when they should be using the PanAmerican highway.

 

As for proximity, it's all relative.  What I loved about living in Europe versus the United States was the close proximity to everything.  When I lived in Amsterdam I could drive to Berlin or Paris in four hours. 

 

As for traveling between Boquete and Panama City, I've always flown, I only took the PanAmerican highway once by bus with a friend years ago and what a long and treacherous drive it was.  My only need for traveling by car to Panama City is for shopping so I don't have to use companies like Fletes Chavale.

 

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